Monday, June 15, 2009

Bishop Finn's Homily from Corpus Christi Procession

About 1000 faithful from the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph and the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas participated in the annual joint diocesan Corpus Christi Mass and Procession June 14 at St. Agnes Parish and Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park, Kansas. Following is Kansas City - St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn's homily from the event:

Homily at the Procession - Corpus Christi - June 14, 2009
Most Reverend Robert W. Finn, Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Gospel: John 6:51-58

Laud, 0 Zion, your salvation; Laud with hymns of exultation;
Christ, your king and shepherd true:
Bring Him all the praise you know; He is more than you bestow.
Never can you reach His due.
(Sequence for Corpus Christi)

Dear friends,

Our first duty as creatures is to return praise to God: to adore Him from whom every gift of life and goodness flows. Praise is the first and highest act of justice. It is for us the exercise of our highest capacity: to love Him who is our "king and shepherd true. . . Never can we reach His due.”

The prayer of the Church teaches that this very act of praise "is itself God's gift to us. ... Our prayer of thanksgiving adds nothing to God's greatness, but makes us grow in His grace." (Preface Weekdays IV)

So, the first order of our worship is Jesus Christ gathering us around Himself. In Him we find the pinnacle of who we are and what we are called to be. Around this highest summit, every other thing must find its authentic meaning and purpose. Christ is "true north," the only right setting of our heart's compass, the supreme truth which alone can give validity to any and all other claims.

Second, we have walked. We have made today's observance a little journey - an image of our life, and the dynamic of the "pilgrim Church." What is exceedingly clear is the He has walked with us. You and I are not alone. In the Mystery of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ Eucharistic, He is with us always - to the end of the age. In every moment - in our joys, sorrows, sufferings, and hopes - He is the heart beating and coursing with love.

Just this week, in his homily for Corpus Christi, (June 11, 2009) our Holy Father has reflected on the Eucharistic Lord in our midst. Pope Benedict bid us to make sure that our Eucharistic worship is never merely formal and empty. Our celebrations must involve the heart, and at the same time be focused on Christ beyond our current preoccupations.

"There is always a strong temptation," the Pope warned, "to reduce prayer to superficial and hurried moments, allowing ourselves to be overcome by earthly activities and concerns." "With the Eucharist," he explained, "heaven comes down to earth; God's tomorrow descends into the present moment, and time is, as it were, embraced by divine eternity."

Truly, Jesus, in the midst of our daily anxieties, wishes to extend to us the hope and promise of an eternal life. "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." (In 6:51).

Yes, dear friends: Jesus Eucharistic calls us around Himself and He walks with us. What else happens? What else must we do?

[Third] We must make Him known. We must go out. In this annual procession we make a public witness to the most extraordinary mystery of our faith - that God is here. The truth in Jesus Christ has a power to attract and conquer souls. He told us that when He is lifted up, He would draw the world to Himself. (see Jn 12:32) By the way we live, by the purity of our love, and by our faithful dependence on Him who is the living Bread, others will come to see and know Him.

Our prayer today is the same as that of the Holy Father as he took up the holy procession: "We ask the Lord," the Holy Father said, "in the name of the entire city: Stay with us, Jesus, make us a gift of Yourself and give us the bread that nourishes us for eternal life. Free this world from the poison of evil, from the violence and hatred that pollute people's consciences, purify it with the power of Your merciful love."

Let us ask Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, to keep us close to Jesus, and make us ever more faithful instruments of His love and life.

(Photos - Kevin Kelly. Top picture - Bishop Finn leads the procession while Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop carries the monstrance under canopy. Lower picture - Bishop Finn blesses the assembled with the monstrance. Archbishop Naumann is seen kneeling.)